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  • Model IDs optimal paths in fiber optic networks

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2011
Compiled by Photonics Spectra staff

RALEIGH, N.C. – Fiber optic network designers must find the most efficient way to connect distant phones and computers – a costly and time-consuming process. But researchers at North Carolina State University have a model that they say finds optimal connections 10,000 times more quickly than previously possible, while using less computer power to solve the problem.

“Problems that used to take days to solve can now be solved in just a few seconds,” said George Rouskas, a computer science professor at the university. The model could solve problems much faster when data is routed through larger “rings” in the network, he said.

Devising a mathematical model, the researchers identified the exact optimal routes and wavelengths for ring network designers. The model creates a large graph of all the paths in a ring and identifies where those paths overlap. It then breaks the graph into smaller units, with each unit consisting of the paths that do not overlap. Because they don’t overlap, they can use the same wavelength of light, whereas paths that overlap cannot.

By breaking all of the potential paths down into smaller groups, the scientists identified the optimal path and wavelength between two points much more efficiently than they could using previous techniques. Their work appeared in the July issue of the Journal of Optical Communications and Networking (doi: 10.1364/JOCN.3.000577).

The researchers say the model will significantly shorten the cycle of feed-back and redesign for existing rings, meaning that the ring design work could be done using fewer computers, costing less. In addition, it should allow network providers to be more responsive to user demands than previous models permitted.

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